Cove overcome Keith resistance with battling second-half performance

Cove boss John Sheran.

Leaders Cove overcame a stubborn Keith side which boss John Sheran thinks are much-improved with a second-half barrage at Kynoch Park.

Rangers eventually ran out 5-0 winners due to two tap ins from goal-machine Mitch Megginson and Ryan Stott, and three goals from crosses courtesy of Ryan Strachan, Jamie Masson and Jonny Smith.

Sheran said: “We were playing uphill in the first half and it was quite difficult to move the ball about quickly.

“But we just made a wee tweak at half-time and put on a couple of subs and the game changed playing downhill.

“Once we got the first it was never in doubt really.

“Credit to Keith in the first-half, they were well organised and did really well.

“You can see Dean (Donaldson) is doing well.

“It was harder to create opportunities against them.”

Cove stretched their lead at the top to seven points with two games in hand after Fraserburgh drew 2-2 with Buckie Thistle at Bellslea.

Buckie boss Graeme Stewart thinks his team should have won and said the referee had “an absolute shocker” when he awarded the Broch a second penalty in five minutes to level it. Stewart said: “He gives a pen to them, which is a pen, our keeper saves it. The second pen, the guy falls over with no one near him, which they score to equalise with five minutes to go.

“He then sends off one of our players for a second booking.

“He lost the plot a wee bit.

“In theory, it’s a good point away at Fraserburgh, but the boys are devastated after the game.”

Buckie had 10 first-team players out for the game. Fraserburgh took the lead through Gary Harris, before Shaun Carroll levelled with a pen.

Steven Ross then put Buckie back in front.

Willie West scored the second penalty that the Broch were awarded to split the points, after Gary Harris missed the first one.

James Duthie, Fraserburgh’s assistant manager, said: “Over the course of the game we had enough chances and possession to win the game.

“I think the ref got the penalty decisions right. Graeme will think they were soft, but we think we should have got them, it’s just one of those things.

“It was good spectacle for the Highland League, but it feels like two points dropped for us.”

Meanwhile, Inverurie Locos ignited the race for second place by beating Clachnacuddin 3-0 via Neil Gauld’s hat-trick of penalties.

Boss Neil Cooper, whose side are now two points behind the Broch, said: “That’s what Gauldy has done his whole career – he’s put the ball in the back of the net.

“He’s a first-class finisher and technically striking the ball he’s very good. We’re lucky to have a player as good as him in our team.

“The top of the table is now getting quite meaty, you’re talking about five or six teams trying to grab the top three places behind Cove.

“It’s good we’ve managed to close the gap on Fraserburgh, but they’ve got a far superior goal difference to us.

“There’s a lot of games still to go, a lot of points to play for and we’re hoping to up there near the end.”

Elsewhere, Forres, who are only four points behind Inverurie in fourth, beat Deveronvale 3-0 at home.

Rothes came away for Lossiemouth with a 6-4 win, while Nairn County beat visitors Strathspey Thistle 1-0.

Wick Academy drew 1-1 with Huntly at home, while Fort William v Turriff United was called off due to a waterlogged pitch at Claggan Park.